Mothers Day Card Catastrophe; Valentine Michael Smith Visits Johnson Family Ranch


So. Here we all are at the end of another Mothers Day Sunday, and as per usual—I’m lost. I’ve often felt as if I’m the stranger in a strange land—occurrences that have become almost expected routine for this ADHD-addled fuckbrain. The human race loves “typical” and “normal” and “average” in its populace and has little affection for “different” or “weird” or “unusual”[.]

Or “strange” and most especially, strange.

When we think of acceptability indexes, the statistical bell curve analysis is standard procedure for we humans. When it comes to brain power, the average IQ is set to the bias of 100 Quotient Points. For each age group, the median IQ will be 100 when any statistically accurate number of people take the same test. If I was computer literate I’d draw you a picture of a bell curve and show you the spot at which the 100 Quotient Points median average lay. Or where it lie. Maybe the median average would lie.

Actually, I think most statistics lie because politicians and other marketing assholes use statistics to twist both the results and truth. How often have you heard the same set of facts used to support opposite sides of the same argument by politicians? Too fucking many.

When someone commits a crime and police have an eye witness to interview, the resultant BOLO says, “Be on the lookout for a man of average height and weight and no visible scars or tattoos. Man is armed and dangerous—do not approach.” The reason for that is simple: The average man is average in weight and height and has no scars or tattoos to be seen when fully dressed, he committed his latest crime with a weapon and he likely isn’t interested in anything you might have to say to him.

When discussing their children, the only parents who find an “Average” evaluation of health, growth, maturity or other measurable attributes to be unacceptable, are parents considered as obsessive or demanding of their kids. As a species, we tend to seek accomplishments that are anywhere above the average. As long as we are “above average”, as long as our IQ is at least 101, we’re fine at school or work, and in our interpersonal relationships.

Trust me on this. If you are considered to be an above average lover you’ll be getting you some loving.

OK, stop. I’m starting to allow that self-same ADHD mentioned above to Engineer the train rather than play our Conductor. What I’m trying to say is that today is Mothers Day and I’m feeling like a motherless child. I feel like Valentine Michael Smith, Robert Heinlein’s orphaned human from Mars who returns to Earth and finds that he is different—unusual, weird and unusual; strange.

I’m feeling much akin to VMS in A Stranger in a Strange Land. He was an inventor, like me. Of course his inventions included a method for interplanetary space travel and my best is in organic erosion controls. While I consider my efforts to protect Mother Earth to be important, I feel that we have already fucked things up so badly around here that Mr. Smith’s method will be much desired in the not-too-distant future. We’ll all be wanting to escape to Mars where the air will be safer to breathe and there might still be some potable water left unfouled.

He was also innovative, like me. He had 100% full control over his mind, a wonderful innovation. Me, I have singlehandedly developed a way to save our world’s precious water supplies by a most simplistic method. I pee in sinks to save water. Everywhere I go I pee in sinks—at home, the office, your home and office, restaurants, the dentist’s office, the homes of my Bloggie buddies in other states. I’m a sink-peeing machine.

Smith and his Martian surrogate parents knew the value of water. They had a special bonding ceremony that centered around sharing a glass of water. Becoming “water brothers” on water-starved Mars was religious.

Of course if humans could fully control their minds, and we all understood the value of H2O, we wouldn’t be spoiling our environment and wasting our water. The rest of you would be peeing in sinks just as I do.

And if we could control our minds I wouldn’t be an ADHD-addled redneck fuckbrain and you’d be far less confused at this stage of the story.

Anyway, sitting here this Mothers Day afternoon I feel like a stranger in my own land. I feel like Valentine Michael Smith except in reverse. Valentine came to earth to find himself the stranger and I find myself strange in my own home. The root cause for my feeling out of place lies in my attempt to be an average son today—a son performing Mothers Day rituals with love.

There have been high levels of tension between my mother and me for quite some time. OK, there has always been tension between Mother and me. In Mother’s eyes, I exited her womb with my first conscious act one of defiance to her and I’ve not stopped defying and embarrassing her since. Within minutes of birth, while not peeing in the sink, I did pee all over the operating room and its inhabitants. That story is available in my book, Full Rising Mooner, which is available over there =====}}}}} to the Bloggie Roller. The book has been well reviewed and a few non professional readers have actually had nice things to say about it. Then again, I’ve been told that I’m no Hemingway and should be embarrassed for myself.

The normal levels of tension between Mother and me have been exacerbated by today’s Modern American christianity and the asinine political environment created by those christians. The “little c” christians are ruining the social fabric of my country with their bigoted interpretations of their bible (a small b word to me), and the resultant political issues that have arisen therefrom have served to heighten the discord between mother and son.

Today I wanted to make my best effort to repair some of the torn fabric of our relationship. Today I wished to find some common ground with Mother. I used Mothers Day as a canvas to paint an improved landscape of harmonious family relations.

It started several weeks ago when I had an artist buddy make us some Mothers Day cards to be given the mothers by the entire brood. I had giant cards made for each mother in attendance at today’s big MD brunch I prepared here to the ranch. Each 8.5 X 11-inch card was specialized to the individual mother, and each was signed with a personalized message from the rest of us. I had cards made for Mother, Gram, the P-cubed (whose only son was killed in Viet Nam), Aunt Hilda (not an actual birth giver, yet as mother to her shrunken head in a box a mother in my eyes) and the Squirt. Squirt got a card because she serves as mother hen to the menagerie of animals I call my kids.

I had everyone sign every card for the ladies of the Johnson family ranch. Everyone not a mother was required to say the nicest things they could about each mother and then sign their name, or make their mark. Some of the sentiments were sappy, some were funny and some were strained. The most visibly strained was Rush Limbaugh’s note to Gram on her card. It said, “Happy Mothers Day, Gram. I love you even though you want to kill me and slow-smoke my carcass over apple wood.” He signed his card by rubbing his snout on the ink pad and then pressing it to the paper.

It was the sentiments of my gay pig and his ostrich lover that managed to mangle the mood at brunch and put me in my funk. I handed out cards one at a time and saved Mother’s for last. Each lady read her card and the messages and we laughed and teared with each mother in turn. Gram actually hugged Rush and then threatened him with untimely death if he messes with her potion pantry.

I found an old photo of P-cubed’s son and included it with her card. It was from a time when all of us boys were in a garage band called The Stoners. He was the only one with real talent and he could sing like a canary. Penelope Paxon-Parades thanked me with a snotty kiss after she saw the photo, and poked fun at Rick Perry. The big ostrich had used his new titties to make his mark and the big smudges on her card looked like a Van Gogh painting.

When I got to my mother’s card, I handed it to her with a flourish, kissed the top of her head and said, “Happy Mothers Day, Mother. I love you and I hope you like your card.”

“Thank you, son,” she said, and she leaned the big envelope against her chair on the floor and started picking at the remnants of smoked quail on her plate. Mother’s favorite thing I cook is smoked quail.

Mother just sat, staring at the quail bones as she pushed them back-and-forth on the plate. We were all staring at her staring at quail bones. After what seemed like an hour of tense quiet, in her martyred-most voice Mother said, “I don’t know what I did to deserve this.”


“Is something wrong?” I asked, “are you OK?”

I thought my mom was overcome with emotions at the outpouring of loving sentiments at the family table, so I said, “It’s OK, Mother, you can read it later.”

Without looking at me, my mother asked, “Did everyone sign my card who signed the others?”

“Of course,” I happily said, “everyone here wanted to tell you what you mean to them. Especially Sister and Anna. And me.”

My sister and her wife have been subjected to as much of Mother’s nastiness as have I. The three of us talked at length about making a big effort to mend our fences with her. Each of us had made apologies and special pleas for peace and written them on the card.

“I’ll have nothing to do with this sacrilege. I’ll not endorse the desecration of holy matrimony by my very own children. How could you have homo-sex-u-als sign my Mothers Day card when you know how I feel?”

With that outburst, Mother almost jumped to her feet and threw her napkin at the table. The pretty red-and-white checked thin linen landed in the BBQ sauce like a butterfly and then sank in slow motion. When it had settled, Mother turned to point a finger at me, and said, she screamed at me, “You have ruined another special occasion, Mooner. This was MY Mothers Day. You ruined MY DAY!”

She bent and picked the card off the floor and threw it at me like a Frisbee. My reflexes were as stunned as my mind and I wasn’t quick enough to get out of its way. The corner of the envelope hit my cheek just under my eye and tore a small jagged cut that started to bleed as faces tend to do. I didn’t feel the cut until a drop of blood hit the tablecloth next to my Carta Blanca beer bottle. The table cloth matched the linen napkins and my blood made a nice contrast on the red and white linen.

Like I said, I’m feeling like a stranger in my own land. But at least I’m not an average BOLO notification. “Be on the lookout for an abnormal male, 6′ 4” tall, 240 pounds, an above-average lover with a small crescent-shaped scar near his left eye. Suspect is unarmed, but dangerous, and wanted for conduct unbecoming a son. Right-wing religious republican assholes should approach with extreme caution.”

Manana, y’all.”

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5 Responses to “Mothers Day Card Catastrophe; Valentine Michael Smith Visits Johnson Family Ranch”

  1. mel says:

    You know, I actually thought about what might be going down in your world the other day…Mother’s Day…when I decided that since my husband wasn’t recognizing all that I do as the mother of this children it was up to me and I went for a pedicure. That is another story. Anyhow, as I was saying, with all the recent tension, I really did wonder. And now I am sad for you. That was a terrible way for her to behave. And the really sad thing is that she will never understand what she did was so wrong. Terrible. You can at least know that if anything, you really did try. Obviously her messed up belief system is more important to her than her family.

  2. chrisinphx says:

    I’m sorry Mooner. Rejection sucks and its even worse when it’s done over an olive branch.
    The amount of thought and consideration you all put into the cards was amazing, try and focus on the others and the happy you gave them. Might it be time for Mother to look for a more suitable living environment?

  3. Squatlo says:

    Like they say (whoever the hell THEY are) “No good deed goes unpunished”… If what you describe is an accurate portrayal of events, your mom is a sick puppy in need of some serious psycho-shrinkin’. My own mother had a good Catholic Martyr guilt routine that could make a person feel bad for offering her a cookie, but she was a piker compared to your mother figure.

    You know who I blame for this sort of thing? Neither do I. But after giving it ten solid seconds of thought I’ve concluded that someone is responsible for this kind of unacceptable intolerance, and as soon as we find that sumbitch we oughta slather him or her with hugs and kisses. Big ol’ wet, sloppy smackers, right on the face. (“How odd!” you might be thinking… since this individual has brought so much misery and heartache to the world… but I’m a firm believer in the power of love to overcome ignorance and hate, even for folks who seem without redemptive possibilities)

    In the meantime, you might consider making future oversized cards out of some type of nerf-like material. I’m designing a set of nerf windchimes for the back porch, because I’m not a fan of the noisy ones. Nerf Mothers Day Cards. Suitable for slinging.

    Hang in there, Mooner. One of these days that “goes around, comes around” karmic thing will send a shot of reason and sanity to your little compound, and it’ll dazzle the shit out of angry people who don’t realize how oppressive their behavior has been on more enlightened folks.

    Kind of like a rapture thing, but more like a rupture.

    Nerf ’em with love, Mooner. They can’t fight overwhelming love. Invent an orgasmatronic ray! It would be hard as hell for anger and hate to rule the day if everyone was coming like a freight train whenever you hit the switch!

    I’m outta here. You’ve made me miss my mom… dammit.

  4. Father-of-the-Year Nominee, Mooner Johnson says:

    One, and all. I have decided that this was the last time I’ll devote my energies to complaints re: my mother. She is what she is and I’m old enough to know that she doesn’t think like me, doesn’t approve of me and basically, doesn’t like me.

    After this past weekend I find myself strangely OK with all of that. I’m not saying I’ll cut all mention of her as she is integral to life here on the sweltering plains. But she will me less of a burden for us all.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts and also the creative ideas.

  5. Katy Anders says:

    It’s been many years since I’ve read “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

    Now I sorta want to read it again.

    Mostly just because I’ve always loved the name “Jubal Harshaw.”

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